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First Russian Hybrid Drone Makes Inaugural Intercity Flight

First Russian Hybrid Drone Makes Inaugural Intercity Flight

The ZALA 421-16E5G drone produced by ZALA AERO (a subsidiary of Kalashnikov group) spent over 12 hours in the air completing a flight from Izhevsk to Yoshkar-Ola and back, the first such trip for hybrid drones. The route was 1,130 km long.

During the flight, developers tested the use of the UAV by two flight crews with a new communication and control system implemented at beyond-line-of-sight control points in different regions of the Russian Federation. The use of the system where the operators can be located up to 500 km away from the takeoff site saves the resources of the UAV, reduces the human factor and helps optimize the staff of operating units.

The latest developments in navigation and intelligent information processing used in ZALA systems were also tested. The ZALA 421-16E5G features a new onboard visual navigation system (VNS) independent of satellites, implemented in a closed control loop. This allows the aircraft to fly in complete radio silence, as well as to resist electronic warfare means. The system proved to be much more accurate than inertial navigation.

The new AIVI onboard intelligent processing system was also demonstrated. In passive mode, AIVI provides automatic detection and recognition of objects from several sources, with an overview of the entire lower hemisphere (360 degrees), which allows for receiving up-to-date information about the number and location of objects and changes in the environment during the flight. This system helps increase the drone survey area by 30 times, as compared to regular means of detection, eliminating the human factor in the search for objects.

The flight was conducted in accordance with the Federal Aviation Regulations of Russia.

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